By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 8/16/16 (Tue)
It may seem cliche to say this but Kenmare personifies Main Street and small town North Dakota in a unique way.
There are a lot of people here who are professional yet cordial, personable, always willing to lend a helping hand and are hell bent on good customer service.
The best example I can come up with is in Gooseneck Implement. I don’t know if they take customer service seminars from John Deere, but it’s hard to find a staff so dedicated to their customer base as those at Gooseneck Implement.
What makes me feel good about Gooseneck is that I am treated just like any other farmer who walks through the door, for parts, advice or equipment, despite growing vegetables on 2 acres instead of wheat on 2,000 acres.
A couple of months ago I heard a grinding noise on my John Deere 110 rototiller and all of a sudden a pulley popped off its axle and the chain went airborne, wrapping around a front pulley.
I went into Gooseneck to get the part I needed and Pete Thorp found it and wrote up a bill of sale for 60 cents. It appeared to me his priority was to keep a John Deere up and running rather than downplay an obscure part that cost less than a dollar like others might.
The same day I asked about a replacement belt that turned the pulleys to engage the rototiller.
Nate Condit went searching for it and in the end told me he could order it as they didn’t have it in stock.
When I suggested I needed it as soon as possible, he phoned across the highway to Farmers Union Oil Co., and I could hear the conversation, “We’ll have it for him when he gets here.”
The FU Oil staff is right up there as well. When I need something no matter if it’s low cost or expensive, there’s always someone there to assist and it doesn’t matter who it is, they’re all equally as courteous and equally as eager to serve the customer.
Whether it’s filling propane tanks, finding the right spark plug, fixing or replacing tires or even seeking advice on what might be the best jack stand, someone is always there, always knowledgeable and willing to help.
And much like the staff at Gooseneck, my issues generally don’t cost a lot of money because it’s garden tractor tires or trailer tires, but there are never any questions asked. It’s always done and done right and it is very much appreciated.
Farmers Union Lumber carries out a similar customer service repertoire.
One day I needed some insulation but they didn’t have it in stock. Instead of saying, “sorry, can’t help you,” the staff got on the phone with their partner lumber yard in Stanley and within an hour had the insulation with the specifications I needed for my project. Thank you FU Lumber.
The staff at Gathering Grounds is another fine example of customer service you’ll rarely find anywhere and that needs to be mentioned.
I’ll sometimes say I have Gathering Grounds on speed dial since it is just down the street and handy for lunch.
In reality I don’t, but when I call there and identify myself and place an order, they know I like onions and load up my sandwich with onions whether I ask for them or not.
They remember a customer’s wants, weeks apart sometimes, and to me that is impecable marketing and customer service.
One can also find the same at Kenmare Drug. Sometimes I’ll stop into that store with some obscure requests and they’ll either find it or find someone else who has the product. They could just say, “Sorry, can’t help you today.” Instead, they bend over backward to assist their customer and that will always take me back there.
Darold “Honk” Hansen is a plumber by trade and Hansen’s Hardware sells plumbing supplies. When you need something and describe it, “Honk” will first advise you professionally, then get the product you need, not something that may or may not function.
I wasn’t paid to promote these businesses, it’s not tied in with any advertising campaign, I’m not getting free service in exchange for “plugging” these businesses. This is simply my opinion of the customer service I notice when I’m making transactions virtually anywhere I go in Kenmare.
That says a lot about this community and what drives it. It’s customer service whether you operate on two acres or 2,000, it’s customer service whether you spend a lot of money or not and ideally, it’s more about forming personal relationships that it is making sales.
This is Main Street, this is Kenmare. Thank you!